The Shawnee Mission School District has formally laid the groundwork to build a competitive aquatic center within the Lenexa City Center development.
School board members on Monday voted unanimously to approve a memorandum of understanding with the city to build the aquatic center on almost 2 acres bordered by the 87th Street Parkway, Winchester and Elmridge streets. The city owns the property, valued at $1.02 million, but will convey the land to the district for free ahead of construction.
The memorandum said the aquatic center would be designed to attract local, state and regional swim meets and other events. It would include a 50- by 25-meter indoor competition pool, diving wells and seating for at least 1,500 people. The district would also build a parking facility on the site and work with the city to find areas for overflow parking.
The two sides would also consider building a pedestrian walkway over the West 87th Street Parkway to connect the aquatic center with a future 100,000-square-foot recreation center, part of the Lenexa Civic Center currently being built between Winchester Street and Penrose Lane.
“It’s a true collaboration,” said Deputy Superintendent Kenneth Southwick.
Southwick said it was too early to determine how much the aquatic center will cost. But money for the project was included in the $223 million bond issue approved by voters last January.
The district still must meet a number of city requirements, including submitting final development plans and applying for building permits with Lenexa. Assuming all goes to plan, the memorandum expects the district to begin construction by mid-2017.
The district first announced in July it was looking to build the aquatic center within the City Center, which will include a mix of apartments, shops, offices and entertainment venues on more than 200 acres bordered by the 87th Street Parkway and Renner Boulevard. District officials had previously considered building the aquatic center near Shawnee Mission South High School in Overland Park, but a presentation by Lenexa leaders changed their minds.
The district’s five high schools all have their own swimming pools, but they are too small for larger meets and will continue to be used for practice and smaller competitions.
Lenexa City Administrator Eric Wade told the school board that the aquatic center will be a quality addition to the Civic Center, which will also include a new city hall, a branch library and a public market.
“We’re very pleased that we have gotten to this milestone in terms of creating a better future for the community that we all serve,” he said. “With your investment as well this is going to be a very special place.”
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